DOUBLE HONORS: Donna Karan — one of Parsons The New School for Design’s most famous alumni — famously failed her draping class during her years there, but as far as the school is concerned, it didn’t have a lasting impact. Karan, along with chair of the Parsons Board of Governors Sheila C. Johnson, will be the honorees at the 2012 Parsons Fashion Benefit, scheduled to take place at Chelsea Piers’ Pier Sixty on May 1. Both are being celebrated “as women who have risen to the top of their chosen fields and have shaped contemporary culture,” Parsons executive dean Joel Towers said.

The two, who are close friends, have also made significant contributions to the school: Johnson with the creation of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center and Karan by endowing the Donna Karan Professorship and the Stephan Weiss Design Strategies Dialogues program. “Parsons gave me my start in the industry, and to be able to support future designers is incredibly important to me,” Karan said.

This story first appeared in the November 8, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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